Christian school advice

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by zboss, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. zboss

    zboss New Member

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    I've been lurking on this forum, but I'm going to post this now. I'm not religious, but I teach at a Christian school. One of the stated missions of the school is to make kids into Godly young people and to spread the love of God.
    I have some students who are not Christian. For example, there's an atheist girl who doesn't believe in any religion. There's also a Jewish girl who doesn't believe in Jesus. The problem is that I heard some other students harassing them, and it almost seemed like bullying. They kept telling them that their beliefs are wrong and that they should convert. They said they know for sure that their own beliefs are correct and that it's their job to make people know the truth. If people don't know the truth, they'll go to hell. I felt bad for the girls, but I didn't do anything to stop this because I wanted to wait and see if they would do this again. It turns out they didn't do it again and now, the school year's almost over.
    But what would you have done in this situation? What if you told them to stop, and they said "But we're 100% sure that we know the true Jesus. So we feel sorry for non-Christians because they're wrong. That's why we should try to save them."?
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Does your school promote "spreading the love" as being the same as "saving" people? I think they are two different things (but to fanatics they might be the same).
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I teach at a Christian school and we have a very strict policy on this behavior. We teach that all are welcomed and loved by God. There are plenty of passages in the bible that demonstrate how Jesus showed incredible love and compassion with people who did not believe in God or chose sinful lives. Some examples are his stories of The Prodigal Son and The Good Samaritan. Also, his showing of compassion with the Woman at the Well, the Woman caught in adultery, and Mary Magdalene. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us a new commandment to Love One Another as he has loved us.

    One way to put it is the inside and outside of a person. If a person hits another person, that is a behavior that is observed and we can say that is wrong, don't do it. We can teach right and wrong behavior. However, we are not to judge someone's heart. We don't know all the whys a person does something. A child might be an atheist for the same reason another child is a Christian, both may just be obeying and following their parents.

    Children (and even adults) need to learn how to value all people even when we don't agree with their beliefs. As the popular Christian hymn says, "All Are Welcome in His Name."
     
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  5. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    It is bullying but your admin team may be hesitant to to address it because "Christian". Personally? I'd run the other direction. With a quickness.
     
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  6. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    How exactly were those kids harrasing? In their eyes, those Christian kids were trying to spread the word of God. It probably should have been worded better, but their intentions were most likely pure. Does your school have bible class? I used to teach at a Christian school, and every student had a required bible class for every grade level. I wonder how those nonChristian students reacted in bible class.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    That's why I asked what they meant by "spread the love". It seems like bullying to me but the fanatics would state otherwise.
     
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    "They kept telling them that their beliefs are wrong and that they should convert. They said they know for sure that their own beliefs are correct and that it's their job to make people know the truth". That doesn't sound like they are trying to "help" in any way. It might be that their parents act like that towards others and they think it's perfectly acceptable to tell people they are wrong.
    I'm also wondering why there are non Christian students going to this school. Wouldn't it make sense for people to send their children to the school that is the best fit for them and their family?
     
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  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    We get students of different religions that attend our Christian school too. The 2 largest reasons are for the academics and that they feel less bullied than the nearby public schools. (Many public schools are good, but not near the area where I teach). Non-Christian students can flourish at a Christian school if they feel accepted. It is too bad that this isn't happening at the OP's school. I hope steps can be taken to improve this situation.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    So if a student is being bullied you'd run away? I have never found running away solves problems, and I hope the OP doesn't take this advice. This student needs the help of the teacher.
     
  11. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Uh no. Maybe I wasn't clear. Address the bullying, put in applications else where. As in... I'd leave that school so fast.
     
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  12. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Honestly it's going to get extremely muddled and fast. Because for one they have the defense of "Well it is a Christian school". Not that it's right or wrong, but the augment could be presented from the admins as a well you knew what you were signing up for this is what we believe in here. As far as I'm concerned it's bullying and shouldn't be tolerated.
     
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  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Being a Christian and godly would include treating others with respect and kindness. Just as Jesus would. Period.
     
  14. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Leave..........quick, fast and in a hurry.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Why? One doesn’t just up and leave a school because of a few kids’ behavior. This is a teachable moment.
     
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  16. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oh no we're not talking about the kids' behavior. My pagan butt wouldn't be caught dead working there to start with.
     
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  17. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Actually yes, we are talking about the kid's behavior. Let's keep it on that and not on opinions of whether we want to work in a Christian school. That is unfair to the OP.
     
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  19. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    No, it was mentioned that the kids' behavior was not a good reason to run from the school. Which is not what I was referring to. The bullying should have been addressed, and should be in the future. And I'd still run the other away from the school.
     
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  20. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    How so? You can't separate the child's behavior from the environment the child is being subjected to. The OP is also subjected to this environment just by working there. I don't know the religious beliefs of the OP, but if they're not in sync with the school, the OP will be next. That's a feeble attempt to not get a Christian school criticized.
     
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  21. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Leave OP, leave now.
     
  22. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I was referring to the comment that "my pagan butt wouldn't be caught dead to start with." If someone said "Hey I work at a school that is a LGBTQ school (realize this doesn't exist in reality) and someone is making fun of someone who is insensitive towards someone who is gay, and someone says "my straight butt wouldn't be caught dead to start with." I'd find the comment a bit insensitive. I am not saying this was Aces intention, but since this post is about tolerance, I think we need to be sensitive in our comments whether the school is geared towards Christians, LGTBQ, female only school, or any other group. If a slight error is made and someone uses a picture of people celebrating with champagne glasses about it, yes I will say something.
     
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  23. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oh but it's fact. One of the factors that can be used to justify and downplay the bullying is the very environment itself. If this was a public school without a set religious doctrine, would this conversation have really happened? Possibly — can't say it wouldn't have. But the environment invites the actions. My pagan butt wouldn't be caught working there and I'll stand by that. Aside from this incident, I'm willing to bet that it's not the only one of its kind.

    Religion should be taught in schools from an academic setting, but not as a basis of establishing a school.

    And yes, I went to a Christian middle school. And can tell you from experience things like this are a common occurrence. Yeah sure you can go to the teachers because someone is trying to convince you that what you believe in is wrong because God. But half the time they either don't do anything, or do something so ineffective they might as well not have done anything at all. Admin team won't be much better. Hatred and bullying breed in environments where it's tolerated.
     
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  24. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    With the way a specific religion likes to attack them, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea.
     
  25. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    [​IMG]
     
  26. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    I still dont classify the op's situation as bullying. The kids were trying to preach to those unbelievers (it is afterall a Christian school), they just did so in a blunt way. Yes, it should have been worded better. Anyways, there is bullying everywhere. I attended Christian and public school. I also taught at both Chrustian and public school. From my experience, bullying is way worse in public schools.
     
  27. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    My thing is... That's kinda the whole point. If it were the "unbelievers" telling a Christian student that what they believed in was wrong and harassing them over it, I would expect a harsher response. You can't be tolerant and accepting and tell someone what they believe it's wrong at the same time. But why should it be tolerated to start with? The Bible doesn't say go recruit people. It says be as one with God and be a light to anyone who wants to come to it.
     
  28. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I agree with you that this situation is bullying. It shouldn't be tolerated.

    The bible actually does say go and tell everyone about the faith. So in a way, yes it does recruit people. It also says to love one another--meaning all others.

    The #1 reason that people come to the school I teach at is not Christianity. The #1 reason is because of the kindness of the students and the lack of bullying. This is a choice of the teachers, administration, and parents who choose to put becoming good people above test scores and other things. Bullying happens everywhere, but if teachers and administrators decide to seriously try to stop it, it will be greatly reduced.
     
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  29. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    I may have missed it, but did the school itself say to not do anything about what the OP saw as possible harassment? From reading the original post my understanding was the school employee who saw the incident was the OP, and she didn't know what to do. They're kids, and they are not always going to say things in the best way. If you feel it is bullying, pull the kids aside and talk to them about how it is perceived. If you are wondering the school's position on this, see if you can find a veteran teacher who you trust to ask.
     
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  30. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    You know, you for this analogy kind of screwed up. It's not "insensitive towards someone who is gay" -- it's just a straight student. Your analogy presumes fault on the non-Christian's part.

    Incidentally, public schools are far from immune to this. Students are allowed to proselytize to each other, and teachers generally can't intervene.-- and the exact same "it's not bullying, we just really care" excuse can be trotted out. The teacher who stops the bullying could be accused of an unconstitutional violation of freedom of speech.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. If there's bullying going on, you absolutely should. But make sure you have your ducks in a row when you do, and be aware that it could lead to a fight..
     
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  31. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'd have to have deeper understanding of what the kids were doing.

    There's a difference between obnoxious proselytizing or awkward belief discussion and bullying.

    We are already seeing biases on this thread.

    OP, can you give examples of what the students were doing? Was it more extreme than stating their proselytizing beliefs?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  32. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    To directly answer the question, a response may depend on your relationship with the students. A reminder of school code ought to do it, but a lot of this simply may be unthinking kids being kids.

    I know you are more likely to ally yourself with non-Christian students, but your job is to help--or not help--all students.

    I'd say this is less religious persecution and more lack of social skills. Some religions and people are more outspoken than others. Does not make the behavior necessarily wrong.

    If it really isn't bullying, consider staying out of it. If it does nag on you, see if the school isn't up for some social skills
     
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  33. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    That's a very, very fine line, considering that official religious dogma is that non-believers deserve infinite torture. I imagine a few hundred years ago some would have argued that burning heretics alive was a kindness, because if they converted during the ordeal they would be saved from Gehenna.

    I'm sure the topic has come up in the discussion the OP mentions. Try playing out that mental discussion among kids and try to imagine something unlike bullying. On either side, actually, because most kids aren't going to articulate, "your beliefs are based on flawed assumptions" in kind phrasing either..
     
  34. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I highly doubt this went anywhere near burning heretics.

    And yes, it's easy to imagine an uncomfortable discussion that isn't bullying. Keep in mind, I have a standard for bullying. If this is merely because kids can't articulate, I doubt it's bullying unless there were other factors.
     
  35. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I would be surprised if the topic of hell didn't come up during a conversion discussion, especially among kids. Having a standard is definitely a good idea, but when it involves reading the intent of kids -- well, judge well and carefully.

    (Not that it's avoidable -- I agree with you that the intent of the kids is important, but I don't think this is always easy to assess).
     
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  36. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    My problem is why should one child be allowed to be cornered and harassed by one group of children on the basis that their religion says it's okay? On top of that, none of them are old enough to fully understand what it is that they're preaching to start with. My religion could say that sacrificing a Virgin is the only way to appease the forest gods in order to keep the Earth alive. I'm sure that would be frowned upon because killing people = illegal. But I'm willing to bet if I could prove it in the Bible it wouldn't be so illegal. So where is the line drawn that your religion can defend your actions? The common answer is when it crosses into the territory of hurting someone else.
     
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  37. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Well said! Political, religious, or other discussions should be allowed if polite, honest, and age appropriate. As you stated well, hurting someone else is crossing the line.
     
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  38. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The OP never said anyone was cornered. They said it was almost harassing/bullying. What does that mean? I agree it's uncouth and less than helpful to behave that way, but I also don't think the conversation itself is bullying. We're they yelling at the other kids? Shoving them? Taunting them? We already know this seems to be a one-time thing, which means it was rude or even mean, but any more than that? No.

    Kids do in fact talk religion. It's not always smooth. I full on agree with @readingrules12 but if no one was hurt, it's a social skills problem and may be one the kids need to manuever themselves if it's not escalating.

    In my youth, I was told I was an idiot/sheep/moron/brainwashed whatever/etc by the pagan and atheist kids for simply off-handedly mentioning my religion.(I do not intend a goose/gander comparison, just sharing an experience) It was not considered bullying at time, because it was single incidents and no one was hurt. I know we have higher standards now and that's generally good, but some things are the awkward rude things they are but nothing more.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  39. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I think the mission statement is apart from the proselytizing.

    If the kids did respond such, I would say they are doing a poor job of it that contradicts the mission statement and that it is sowing discord. Be the teacher and tell them to knock it off, if it's a problem. Point out they were probably getting unwelcome signals.
     
  40. Pisces

    Pisces Rookie

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  41. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So your pagan butt is not a reason to advise someone to quit a job. IMO.
     
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